Published on December 20, 2016

A grilled cheese sandwich is the ultimate comfort food and a childhood favorite. And even though it may seem hard to top the simple melted American cheese version, these recipes succeed. Fancy cheeses, rustic veggies, and unexpected flavors (pizza grilled cheese, anyone?), take this beloved sandwich to the next level. Here are 14 reasons to get out your skillet and give the grilled cheese a major makeover.

1. Peach, Bacon, and Gouda on Pretzel Bread

What makes a grilled cheese “gourmet” is thinking outside the box. This sandwich takes pretzel bread and turns it into a sophisticated dish packed with unique flavors.

2. Bacon, Brie, and Apricot

If you’re going to add a fruit to your grilled cheese, you should probably add bacon and a balsamic reduction drizzle, as well. The combination balances the flavors so the fruit doesn’t feel out of place.

3. Portobello, Gouda, and Kale Pesto

When melty cheese and toasty bread are involved, even your least favorite veggies will taste delicious. The perfect vegetarian lunch option.

4. Monte Cristo Waffle Sandwich

Don’t be afraid of the salty, sweet combo of a Monte Cristo. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked.

5. Creamed Spinach

It’s like an appetizer dip inside a grilled cheese sandwich. An amazing trifecta of spinach, mozzarella, and feta cheese shock the taste buds in this fancy lunch.

6. Brie, Bacon, and Strawberry

For the grilled cheese lover who is looking to incorporate this sandwich into breakfast, here’s your chance. You will wonder how you went so long without this in your life.

7. Spicy Mini Meatball Grilled Cheese

Here’s a hearty, full-flavored grilled cheese for all the meat lovers out there. Keep this recipe in your arsenal for game-day hosting.

8. Pizza Margherita

When you combine pizza ingredients in a sandwich, you wonder if it will be able to top an actual pizza. This recipe proves you can still have the pizza flavors you crave, without the hassle of the crust.

9. Croque Madame with Spinach and Smoked Salmon

Here’s the French grilled cheese that puts the American version to shame. Look closely, and you will see layers of flavor from the cheesy spinach to the smoked salmon—all topped with a perfectly cooked egg.

10. Grilled Goat Cheese with Fig Preserves

Here’s a 15-minute recipe that looks like it was made in a fancy café. Melted goat cheese and fig spread are a match made in grilled cheese heaven.

11. Mexican Grilled Cheese

Chicken fajitas work surprisingly well between two grilled slices of bread. You won’t even miss the tortilla—we promise.

12. Caramelized Peach, Mascarpone, and Chocolate

You probably came here for lunch ideas, but now you are looking at this. (It still counts as lunch if it’s in a sandwich, right?)

13. Pesto, Artichoke, and Havarti Cheese

A grilled cheese full of earthy flavors is just what you need on a rainy day. Make it even better with a warm bowl of soup.

14. Cranberry, Brie and Prosciutto

Take your charcuterie board and turn it into a sandwich. The sweet cranberry takes the edge off the saltiness of the prosciutto, and the melted brie ties it all together.

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